Simple is Best- Well… at least for Monk it is…

Looking back on phase two I find it neat to look at the text and analyze it through different tools and methods of analyzing. The use of combination of tools I thought was very helpful in that it was able to look at things from a different perspective similarly to how a different person looks at a text.  I decided for my final blog post to go simple, and look at the words and themes found in act 2.

I decided to go back to the old fashion way of analyzing and read! I re-read the text to try and find some other themes and a common one I found throughout the text would be public and private actions. The act is about how individuals try to come in on these private moments and actions to reveal to be public. This also seems to be centered around one character: Polonius.

Polonius seems to be that annoyingly pompous guy that always has to know what is going on, and you know when Polonius is around trouble is going to happen. Why does Polonius have this insistent need to be a know it all. The desire for him to know it all and be in the middle of everything can be seen as the thing that brings him down and kills them. The is seen since he is killed behind a curtain, spying.  However his outward appearance is seems opposite with the idea that the king describes him as “a man of faith and honorable”.

From here we can see Polonius’s outward appearance to the King is one of a high and noble status. This makes me think that Polonius cares about how other perceive him and that maybe to make himself feel better.

I also looked at “truth” and I found that it is mentioned 3 times within Act 2. I found that truth was used as 3 times with relation to finding the truth, seeking the truth. It always came back to the idea of knowing the truth and being aware of what was real and what was not.

This relates to Polonius in his constant need to find the truth and seeking in truth. It also relates to the ways he uses to find this truth out which can be seen mostly by sneaking around and having spies. The aspect of truth also relates to the King and Queen and how they feel like they must know the truth to Hamlet with his current state of being, if he is mad or not and his relation with Ophelia. I also looked at the word “hid” and found that it relates closely with the word “truth” in that it was used to cover up the truth and keep it secret and hidden. This once again touches on the idea of things being kept public and private in that everyone wants to keep their personal views private and everyone else’s views public.

It seems like within Hamlet it is a constant power struggle of knowledge and who knows the most and how they can use this information to their gain and knowledge while keeping their views private and away from what everyone else thinks. Act 2 seems to revolve around this idea of knowledge and power, who has it and how can it be used to your personal advantage.

Even though Monk isn’t that fancy or considered a great tool sometimes simple is better and with Monk it is either simple or really complicated and complex. However in either situation I find that you have to be able to know and relate to the text thoroughly. Having Monk as a tool seems to really show me how to not fully rely on a tool for pure information, and I find that it seems to be equal parts of Monk and self knowledge.

4 thoughts on “Simple is Best- Well… at least for Monk it is…

  1. Hello
    I just thought I’d comment, that I liked how you thought to search for ‘truth’. I was actually thinking of doing the same with WordHoard, but I kept forgetting and getting distracted by other things/words (lol). There are always too many words to deal with. But actually, in my thinking of ‘truth’ (and I was going to search ‘honest’ as well) I was thinking of it as more of something ‘questionable’, but your post here made me see how it could be connected to spying or trying to find the ‘truth’. Its a good connection, I for some reason never thought of it like that, perhaps we should have talked about it during our meeting. I also liked how you found the word ‘hid’ nearby, I never think to do that, I always tend to ignore nearby words.
    Anyways, I quickly looked it up the word ‘truth’ in WordHoard, and considering its said 3 times in all of Act 2, there are only 6 other instances together in the whole play. I thought that was sort of a nice fact. I also looked up ‘honest’ and found 6 matches in Act 2 Scene 2 total, and its a much bigger number than the rest of the Acts/scenes (11 times total). Hamlet himself also says ‘honest’ 4 times out of the 6 in Act 2, and I also found that Hamlet says the word 8 out of the 11 times in total in the play. I would have thought Polonius to say these words the most, for some reason, but it appears Hamlet is the one question the ‘truth’ and ‘honesty’ more than others? Who knows.
    I guess I always ramble on, so I won’t do anything further. Monk seems like a really hard tool, so its good you found some things to work with. I also liked your post too for its clarity and simpleness (as well as the picture at the start, its nice). I’ve been thinking my own post is too crowded or too unorganized, I don’t know, so I admire this because it looks nice and neat. Anyways, good work, hopefully our presentation will be alright too…

  2. Great post Hayley!
    I kinda wish we had more time to closely examine Polonius–not just within our act, but throughout the entire play. I know that we have all mentioned him in our blog posts and noted how important his character is in relation to the plays main themes. His character is definitely mischevious (and slightly annoying), and I would assume that it is not a coincidence that he is killed while doing what he does best: spying.
    Your searches involving his character are very interesting, especially the word “truth”, which I would never have thought to look up.
    It is also great that you have gone back and re-read parts of the play, instead of just relying on your tool. I should probably take a hint from you and read up on some parts of the play!

  3. Great post! I really enjoyed reading about your exploration of the theme “truth”, and your study of Polonius. Everyone is so focused on whether Hamlet is mad or not (which don’t get me wrong is a fantastic focus to have) that it seems like the other themes and characters within this play are getting overlooked. I agree with your final comment about how we cannot rely fully on our tool to fully understand these plays. I don’t know about you but after this class I’m probably going to stick to reading and annotating the old fashioned way 🙂

  4. Hey,
    great post, I really agree with the sentiment of wanting to analyze Polonius and his actions or those of other characters throughout the course of the whole play, not just in one single act. I think that it would lead to some fairly interesting insights.

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